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America’s Oldest House and Garden Tour has New Ideas


A Day in Old New Castle, the oldest house and garden tour in the country, will be held as always on the third Saturday of May (17 May 2008). The tour, now in its 84th year, is presented by Immanuel Episcopal Church on the Green, New Castle, and features authentic houses dating from the eighteenth century. Unlike Colonial Williamsburg, Old New Castle has not been restored, it has been lived-in continuously with the actual houses still standing and continuously occupied.  Approximately one dozen homes and scores of gardens will be included on the tour this year.


There is however an innovation of import this year. Breaking with tradition, proceeds from tours, which have historically gone to church maintenance, will now be used to support a community beneficiary. This change was proposed by an Ad Hoc Church Committee charged with refreshing the program and defining the character of the event while developing a detailed work plan for the coming year. The concept was presented to Immanuel’s Vestry and unanimously approved.


This year’s beneficiary will be the Food Bank of Delaware’s “Backpack Program.”  The Backpack Program provides children at-risk of hunger with nutritious, easy to prepare meals during weekends and out-of school times. Actual backpacks are stocked with child-friendly foods and distributed on Fridays or before vacation days.


Speaking of the changes to the event this year, the Reverend Edward Eastman Godden (Rector of Immanuel) said, “Donating all of our proceeds to the Food Bank’s Backpack Program is an important change to our event, and we are all excited to know that our work will directly benefit hungry kids in Delaware.”  Matt Kinservik, chairman of the 2008 event, added, “A Day in Old New Castle has always been a wonderful opportunity to share our town with the broader community.  Knowing that this year’s event will also serve a charitable purpose makes it all the more rewarding.”


A number of enhancement plans are being considered to augment the house and garden tours, which run from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. These include new guided walking tours that highlight New Castle’s history and the historic graveyards in town, various musical entertainments, and other historic attractions.                            


Please mark your calendars 17 May 2008, and plan to join the parishioners of Immanuel Episcopal Church on the Green and the residents of Old New Castle. Additional information and updates can be read at and questions can be addressed to the Day in Old New Castle Committee chairman, Matt Kinservik at 302-454-9822 or at  Hope to see you there.

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